The first prospects point to a republican victory that will curb the president’s agenda and even aid to Ukraine
If the inexorable date of history with the polls is fulfilled, the party in power will have lost at least control of the Lower House today. On January 3, when the legislators from these elections are sworn in, Kevin McCarthy will have a new job and will be able to “hit Nancy Pelosi in the head” with the gavel, as he said at a rally last summer, before a alienated turned the phrase into prophecy on the head of the husband of the veteran Democratic politician.
I had it easy. Every time a president enters the midterm elections with less than 50% popularity, voters punish his party by withdrawing their trust. Biden has less than 40%. If you always pay a price for campaigning in verse and governing in prose, the energy crisis arising from the invasion of Ukraine and the inflationary pressure that has left the productive pause of the pandemic were the sure recipe to piss off the electorate.
The Democratic Party started with bad cards, because the 2020 elections gave it the tightest majority in the last ninety years. The opposition only needed a net gain of five seats to seize the job from the speaker of Congress. The redistricting of electoral districts ensured that even in states like California it was easy to sign up for new seats.
The only doubt that the experts had yesterday is whether the new Republican majority will be more or less than fifteen seats, which is the margin that would allow the new leader of the Lower House to govern comfortably without having to accommodate the extremists of his party. David Weisseman, an analyst at Cook Political Report, estimated that when the count is over, the advantage for the conservatives will be between fifteen and thirty seats.
The time for revenge has come, Donald Trump’s favorite dish. The republican legislators will try to please him in these two years that are missing for the presidential ones. With the presidency of the committees in his charge, the investigations of the insurrection of January 6 or any other that puts the former president in a bind are over.
On the contrary, the Republicans seek to pay with the same currency. Biden can expect his son Hunter Biden’s business dealings in China, the disastrous withdrawal from Afghanistan and even Biden Jr.’s role in Ukraine to be investigated. Taken to the extreme, there is talk of impeachment, whose success will depend on the hands in which the Senate is left. Trump suffered two political trials that did not prosper because his party had his back in the Upper House.
If the Republican margin of victory is tight, McCarthy will have to make concessions to the Freedom Caucus, putting characters such as Congressman Jim Jordan, who according to the history of telephone calls spoke with President Trump during ten minutes on the morning of January 6, 2021, shortly before the assault on the Capitol took place. Jordan defended that the then vice president, Mike Pence, had legal authority to stop the certification of the electoral results that gave victory to Biden.
Another face to behold will be Kentucky politician James Comer, whose name is being considered for the Committee on Oversight and Reform. Under his gaze, the new Congress would not only obstruct Biden’s agenda, but even threaten to undo some of his most important achievements, such as the Infrastructure Law or the Inflation Law, which finance investment in the country. Comer is a “Chinese-centrist” who wants to bill the Asian giant for having unleashed the pandemic and asks that funds be withdrawn from the World Health Organization for his role in the crisis.
The most feared figure is Congresswoman Marjorie Taylor Greene, who was kicked out of committee by Democrats for spreading inflammatory comments and conspiracy theories. From her came the ideas that the Parkland High School shooting was “a setup” to justify a new gun control campaign by Democrats. Greene deleted several videos that she posted on Facebook accusing Democratic leader Nancy Pelosi of “having committed treason” and consequently asking for “the death penalty” for her.
Even before knowing what role he will play in the new Congress, Greene has promised that with his party in power “Ukraine won’t see a penny more of America.” As he put it, the time has come for the Europeans to ‘put their shoulders to the wheel’. McCarthy, who everyone sees as the next congressional speaker, is not so radical, but he has already said that US aid to the Zelensky government is not “a blank check.”
In this vendetta, Greene and her Freedom Caucus acolytes will ask that what was done to her be applied to the most prominent congresswomen of the left wing of the Democratic Party: Ilhan Omar, Rashida Tlaib and Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez. The three renewed their mandate at the polls on Tuesday without difficulty, but in the next two years they will have to be more careful about criticizing “the atrocities” of Israel or those of their own country in Afghanistan.
Two years of immobility await the United States, which the Republican Party will take advantage of to wear down the image of President Biden, a candidate for re-election in what would be a true ‘re-match’ of Biden against Trump, if both candidates fulfill their intentions to continue representing their parties at the polls by 2024.
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